According to the Times of India, India has emerged as the largest market for the Italian fashion group Benetton outside Europe. In fact, their retail sales in India reached over $200 million in 2012 which made Benetton the first international fashion brand to cross that mark locally.
According to Alessandro Benetton, Chairman of the company, Benetton has kept growing since it started a wholly-owned subsidiary in India in 2004. When the company set up a local joint venture with DCM group nine years ago, it had sales of $8 million. He said that Benetton has stayed ahead of other mid-market competitors such as Levi’s and Marks & Spencer in terms of India’s fashion retailing. In fact, Benetton is selling 7.5 million clothes in India, with more than 600 stores across 120 cities and towns in India. About 96% of the Benetton clothes sold in India are sourced within the country.
Benetton also wants to take the advantage of getting established in tier-III and -IV towns (a classification of cities based on their population) to connect with the young consumers there. According to Mr. Benetton “the strength of the company lies in combining a global fashion point of view with local sensibilities”. He also said that “they consider their size and local partnerships as definite positives in a vast market where business dynamics varies with the geographies”. Mr. Benetton alluded to his group’s decision to sell fully-owned stores to franchisees. This happened at a time when India relaxed FDI (foreign direct investment) norms allowed single-brand retailers to own 100% of the store operations, attracting the interest of several global rivals.